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Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Blog

Monday, May 15, 2017

Off Duty New York Detective Involved in Drunk Driving Accident

What are the Victims’ Rights?

A 22-year old woman severely injured in a car accident with a drunk driver passed away on April 24, 2017. The drunk driver, an off-duty detective, was charged with several counts of vehicular assault, assault, and refusal to take a breath test.

Hurting someone using a car is considered a felony carrying a charge of numerous years in prison. If you know someone who has been injured on the road because of someone else’s negligence, contact a New York personal injury lawyer to determine your rights.

Facts of the Case

The victim, aged-22, was coming from her sister’s 21st birthday party. She had refused to drink at the party because she was the designated driver. When it was time to go home, she went behind the wheel of her Honda in the company of her sister and her boyfriend, both of whom were in the back seat.  

While driving on Van Wyck Expressway, the victim’s car was rear-ended by a Mercedes driven by 32-year old Neville Smith. The accident took place at about 4:00 am on Sunday, April 23.

Smith, an off-duty New York detective, was about to enter the southbound lane of the expressway when he rear-ended Vanessa’s Honda.  

The driver of the Honda was seriously injured. She was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where she was put in critical condition. She underwent surgery for a broken pelvis and internal damage. Tragically, she didn’t make it.

Her two passengers, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Neville, the off-duty detective, sustained minor head injuries. He was treated for his injuries before being formally charged with DWI.

Victims’ Rights

The law requires drivers on New York’s roads to be fully alert and capable of safely operating their motor vehicles. Driving while anything but alert or in control will endanger the lives of passengers, other road users such as drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians, and even the driver.

For those individuals who are injured as a result of someone’s negligence behind the wheel, they have the right to be compensated for their injuries. Compensation for motor vehicle accidents can include:

  • medical bills
  • pain and suffering
  • lost wages
  • emotional distress
  • punitive damages, the case of egregious behaviors like drunk driving

The Law on Vehicular Assault in New York

When one person hits another with a vehicle for any reason, including drunk driving, that assault is considered vehicular assault.

There are three types of vehicular assault:

  • vehicular assault in the first degree
  • vehicular assault in the second degree
  • aggravated vehicular assault.

The prosecutor will usually determine which type of assault to charge the at-fault driver with depending on such factors as state of intoxication, seriousness of injuries caused and previous convictions.

If found guilty of vehicular assault a person can be sentenced to anywhere between four and 15 Years in jail. In addition, he/she may be compelled to pay tens of thousands in fines and damages, part of which will go toward meeting the medical expenses of the injured persons.

Injured in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence? Talk to New York personal injury lawyer Arthur O. Tisi now at 1-917-789-1390 for a FREE consultation to learn more about how you can obtain compensation for your injuries.


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